In his book The Teachings of Don Juan, Calos Castaneda, describes his medicine man/Shaman Don Juan, as instructing a new student not to leave the porch area of the retreat home until he finds “his spot.” No matter how long it takes. “Search and rest in various spots until you find yours,” commands the Shaman. As I recall it takes the searcher more than one full day find his spot—but he did
And I think we all have “a spot” or perhaps even a few of them, where we can find comfort in ourselves and with ourselves. There are spots in my home where I am most comfortable. But then there are also “places,” cities or regions that simply feel like you belong.
Early in my blogging days I wrote a post, “How Italy Nearly Ruined My Life.” It was written just after my first trip to Rome, Florence, and Venice. For the very first time I was privileged to take in the beauty of ancient architecture, the world’s best food, and inordinately delightful people. I have since become a dyed-in-the-wool Europhile and my home, Orange County, continues to become increasingly boring in its everything-looks-the-sameness. It’s getting time for a new “place.”
Designer and author Debbie Millman recently said on the Tim Ferriss podcast that, as a New Yorker, from early childhood she wanted to live in Manhattan. Her desire was to live in that certain “place” even if doing so impacted the career she chose for herself—one that could support her living in this uber expensive burrow of New York.
When “Where” is More Important than “What” or “Why”?
A discussion emerged on the show about the importance of “where” we live and where we spend our life—an intentional departure for the normal considerations of those things that make up our goals in life like understanding the why and what that define life.
Just think of the people that love their homes and heritage, and if they are for some reason forced to leave they miss that place for most of the rest of their lives. And then there are those like my mother who was raised on a low-income cotton-farm in the south, who left the day it was legal to do so.
A Place is More than a List of Likes
This idea of your special place is rooted in that intuitive “right-brained” aspect of your thinking. Oh, you could tell me plenty of facts about why a certain place strikes your fancy, but the power of its call to you is often almost inexplicable. I have dreamed of the open spaces of Arizona, but then I visited in the summer. My son dreams of building a family compound in Texas because it feeds his visions of family unity, freedom, and independence. But… there is something else entirely luring him (and me) to a different place.
I visited Portugal a couple months ago for the first time and now I plan to return next year for a month. Why? Architecture, culture, people, food? A resounding yes to all. But that is not the lure. I find something serene and yet adventurous in the Lisbon area. I want to hang out for a while.
Think about your special “place”; even if it’s an invented place, especially if it’s an invented place because that place will include all your secret desires, both known and unknown.
Is there a place calling you? Listen for it. Now. What does your inner voice tell you?
When a Place
Is More Than Just a Place
Photo courtesy of Charlie